Pet ownership is on the rise this year. Research shows that more than 11 million U.S. households have adopted a new pet during the pandemic. Taking in a new feline friend, canine companion, or any other kind of pet can profoundly benefit your mental health. In one survey, three out of every four pet owners reported that spending time with their animals helped reduce stress and increase their sense of wellbeing during the pandemic.
In addition to being a source of fun and joy, pet ownership is also a big responsibility. It takes a lot of time and patience to be a good pet parent. Luckily, there are tons of Meetup groups for pet owners that create communities of mutual support, education, and socialization. You can even benefit from Meetup pet groups as a non-pet owner! Here are four good reasons why you should join a Meetup pet group and attend pet events.
1. Meet fellow pet owners in your area
Cities all across America have warm and welcoming pet groups who love to meet new animals (and their owners, of course). For example, if you have a small dog in Denver, you could join the Denver Small Dog Social Meetup group, which has more than 3,400 members who regularly meet for puppy playdates, friendship, and fun. If you’re a cat owner in NYC, you could join Brooklynite Crazy Cat Society to swap stories with nearly 250 fellow cat lovers and check out some local cat cafes.
Meeting fellow pet owners in your area can also lead to practical benefits, such as:
- Helping you adapt to the pet owner lifestyle
- Connecting with potential petsitters and dog walkers
- Learning tips and tricks for pet care
- Getting recommendations on groomers, veterinarians, pet hotels, etc.
2. Improve your pet’s overall health (and your own) through socialization
When thinking about what it takes to keep pets healthy, some of the first things that come to mind are a balanced diet, adequate exercise, a comfortable home, and regular checkups from the veterinarian. It’s easy to overlook what an important role socialization plays in this equation, too.
Like humans, many animals (especially dogs) require social interaction in order to thrive. A lack of socialization can have trickle-down effects that actually cause serious emotional and physical issues. By joining a Meetup pet group, you can ensure that your pet has ample opportunities to engage socially and develop a healthy response to encountering fellow animals.
Plus, your pet’s playdates can be an opportunity for you to make new friends, too. When you hang out with members of a Meetup pet group, you’re likely to meet people who share your interests, which makes socialization simple and enjoyable.
3. Explore new places in your city by getting some exercise outdoors
You can take advantage of your pet’s need for exercise by burning some calories, too. Many pet groups have an emphasis on outdoor adventure through activities like walking and hiking. The result is a calendar filled with wholesome events that combine animal appreciation with fitness and discovery.
For example, the TAILS ON THE TRAILS-STL Meetup group in Saint Louis has over 500 members who hike up to 15 miles per week with their dogs when the weather is cool, and paddle on lakes and rivers with their dogs when it’s hot. The OC Dogs Meetup in Southern California has nearly 2,000 members who organize a monthly pack walk that helps dogs socialize and burn off energy in a structured environment.
4. Get some quality pet time as a non-pet owner
If you’re a non-pet owner who’s interested in adopting an animal of your own, Meetup pet groups are an amazing resource for you to do research on breed options before you commit. For example, prospective dog owners can attend events with pet groups centered on specific breeds, like The Boston French Bulldog Meetup Group or the Austin Boxer Dog Club.
Some non-pet owners don’t plan to adopt pets any time soon, and that’s okay. There are lots of reasons why pet ownership may be out of the question, like a busy travel schedule, allergies, lack of space at home, finances, and more. Still, it’s important that non-pet owners have the opportunity to engage with friends’ pets because spending time with animals has mental health benefits. Plenty of Meetup pet groups are open to inviting people who don’t have pets, like the North End Hikes and Walks with Dogs group in the Seattle area.
Make your own Meetup pet group
If there’s a lack of organized animal appreciation in your neck of the woods, or if you want to celebrate a specific species or breed that isn’t getting enough love, you can easily create your own Meetup group to meet new friends who share your pet passion.
Last modified on September 23, 2021